How to be an emotionally intelligent leader?

December 6, 2022

How to be an emotionally intelligent leader?

“We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.” — Marshall B. Rosenberg

Technical skills are important to succeed, but emotional intelligence is what sets a great leader apart from the rest. It influences the way we relate to our people, manage stress, communicate feedback, collaborate, and coach others.

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of others. As a leader, your emotional intelligence (or lack thereof) can be the key to making or breaking your team.

Teams thrive or die depending on the relationships between their members and the person leading them. If a leader fails to set an example of how to communicate, collaborate, and solve issues together as a team, the team’s morale and overall productivity suffer.

It can lead to burnout due to workplace-related stress, toxic behavior among employees, a stifling company culture, and high turnover rates. And when your business is bleeding from the inside, it won’t be able to give 100% in terms of the quality and service that your stakeholders deserve.

According to research:

The good thing is, emotional intelligence isn’t fixed, or something you are born with—it is a learned skill, and all of us can benefit from improving our interpersonal skills.

How can we become more emotionally intelligent leaders?


“When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life.” – Tara Meyer Robson

In order to be emotionally intelligent, a person must be in-tune with their emotions and have healthy ways of coping with and managing them.

One way to be more self-aware about how you feel is by practicing mindfulness. Take time to meditate and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, speech patterns, and internal dialogue. The first step to awareness is identifying what is already there, and acknowledging the gap between who you are now and who you want to be.

The more you can be honest and reflect on these things, the more you can start addressing them and finding ways to put theory into action—by developing habits and routines that help you improve and grow in those areas.


It isn’t enough to be aware of your emotions. You must be able to manage them as well. This is particularly true for stressful situations.

Try to observe how you handle problems, conflicts, and stress. Are you being reactive, or are you being more intentional in dealing with them?

It is normal to react negatively to negative situations. We are humans. We feel things. And those feelings are instinctual in nature. However, what separates high performers and achievers from the rest is their ability to act beyond that first instinct.

It isn’t about denying or rationalizing your emotions and always feeling calm or positive. It is more about being able to pause, breathe, collect yourself, and act accordingly, despite what you feel.

And if you need to vent, go ahead and do it. But the place and timing matter as much as the person you trust to vent to.


Emotional intelligence is often associated with empathy. People with high EQ are good at “reading the room” and looking out for social cues to identify what others are feeling. If you are not aware of your own emotions, it is harder to identify what these cues mean, even if you are a very observant person.

Empathy is about being able to identify with another person. In other words, you can put yourself in their shoes and be open to seeing things from their point of view.

This is essential when leading teams, especially in collaboration and conflict. We are all unique, and when unique people come together to work on a shared goal or mission, there’s bound to be friction caused by a difference in opinion.

As the one at the helm, and the final person to call the shots, it is a valuable skill to understand these differing opinions and see the situation from different angles. It helps you see a more complete view of the situation and helps inform your decisions. 

Sometimes, empathy allows you to see common ground that others might have missed. It is a crucial skill whenever you are dealing with people, especially if they are coming from different backgrounds.


Relationship management is one aspect of emotionally intelligent leadership. Putting theory into practice in terms of giving (and receiving) feedback, coaching and mentorship, resolving conflict, and managing collaborative efforts is the goal.

How does your self- and social awareness of human emotion come in handy when influencing others? In simpler terms, when you interact with people in any given situation, how do you make them feel?

If you are an entrepreneur or a business owner, it doesn’t matter what industry you are in. All kinds of business require dealing with other people. And no matter how flashy or groundbreaking your strategies, products, or services might be, what people remember at the end of the day is how you made them feel.

Did you manage to resolve conflict in a way that all parties involved feel invested in accountability and working to improve themselves, or did they leave the room with more resentment than they had, coming in? Did your client go out the door feeling excited and satisfied with the deal, or are they already regretting signing that contract?

How you make others feel leaves a lasting impact, whether in your personal life or in business. That is why emotional intelligence is a crucial skill for us as leaders.

What about you? How are you working on honing your people skills? How did you treat others today? Could you have acted differently to change the outcome of the situation?

Thanks for reading A Brilliant Tribe.